Deadline Diaries

Five Romance writers tell all.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The snow thing...

Posted by Susan

I have, at best, an uneasy relationship with snow. I grew up in Los Angeles, where there never is snow. Except for day trips to the mountains, I did not understand the phenomenon of snow in the wild.

Several years ago, I was asked to be part of a special project at Silhouette Books. They have a very popular series called Montana Mavericks. Different authors write different books and I wrote one called “Married in Whitehorn.” Married in Whitehorn came out as a 2 in 1 Special Edition with the title of A Montana Maverick Christmas.

I think there were 3 books in all, the first and last being full length and then the middle “Christmas” book being the 2 in 1. Anyway, I wrote my story, sent it in, got approval, went through the editing process, then continued on. In November of that year, the first book came out…written by our own Christine Rimmer. I distinctly remember lying down on the sofa, book in hand, prepared for several hours of fabulous reading pleasure. Chris is one of my favorite authors. I got about two chapters into the book before sitting upright, shrieking, terrifying the cat who had been, until that moment, blissfully sleeping on my stomach.

Did I mention these were *Montana Mavericks*???? Guess where they’re set. Uh huh. Montana. Around the holidays. When it’s…you got that right. Cold. As in very cold, as in snow. I was reading Chris’s book and there it was. The white stuff fallin’ down like—snow.

The shriek from my comfy position on a sofa in a townhouse not 2 blocks from the Pacific Ocean? I hadn’t put snow in my book. Swear to God. You can read the book yourself and see I’m not lying. No snow. Why? It *never* occurred to me. I hadn’t lived with snow, didn’t think of snow as happening in real life. Snow is something you see on TV or in the movies. The funny part—my editor was from upstate New York, my copy editor lived in Canada and no one noticed. The warmest thing my heroine ever put on was a sweater. I didn’t even get any reader mail. But still—I was humiliated.

Flash forward about 2 years. I’m asked to do another Montana Maverick holiday book. This one—Christmas in Whitehorn. By now, in my real life, I’m living in Eastern Washington State…oh, about 9 miles from the Idaho border. I’ve seen snow. Lived in it, shoveled it, hated it with an intensity that can only come from being snowed in on a day you really, really want to go to the mall.

Christmas in Whitehorn has plenty of snow. It had snow chains, ice, wind chill. I am redeemed as a writer and life goes on. Unfortunately our recent move to Seattle has been followed by a freakish November. After record breaking rain, we’ve had snow and ice, followed by record breaking lows. The above picture is not pulled off the internet. It’s my street. I took it from my front door Tuesday!

So what weather bloopers have you found in the books you read?


At 7:19 AM, Blogger Christine Rimmer said...

Susan, I love that story! I know, it's cruel. But I love how freaked you were. And you're right. Nobody cared that you were minus the snow. They were too totally absorbed in your story, turning the pages as fast as they could.

Then again, aren't you glad you have first-hand experience with freezing weather now? I mean, stories are conflict and putting on chains in a blizzard...very conflicting. LOL

And I know you're probably sick and tired already of all the inconvenience of winter white. But that pictures sure is gorgeous...

At 7:24 AM, Blogger Christine Rimmer said...

Picture. Singular. Sorry.

Here on the wide prair-ie, it's snowing, too. And snowing. And snowing. All schools closed today. Businesses, too. The guys are home and the J just put on twenty layers of clothing and went out to walk to a buddy's house.

At 7:42 AM, Blogger Susan Mallery said...

Yes, it's pretty, but jeez!! The dh has been taking my car all week. I'm going *crazy* stuck in the house. I don't care if I have to drive him to work tomorrow at 6:30, I'm going to have my car. I'm going out. I'm running errands. I will be free again!!

Snowed in...I know what that's like. At least you're all together. You can decorate!

At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Susan - I think I am about to feel your storm. After a week of above high temps and rain - which I think is wierd with all the Christmas lights. The weather is turning normal and cold here and we are expecting between 0 and 11 inches of snow tonight. Don't you love that forecast. If the storm goes this way, I think I am stuck home with two young kids all day, the other way and I am stuck at work with an office full of adult children. :) Truthfully, I am hoping for at least a bit of snow as I want to go get our Christmas tree this weekend and well, snow just makes me feel christmassy. I hope you get a chance to go out and get a latte tomorrow.


At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Kim said...

Snow is one of those things when you live in the mid-west, it just happens--we deal and we move on. My in-laws live in Montgomery, AL--one spring (March) we were headed to visit--while lunching in Nashville a very nice older couple asked us if we would "jump start" their battery--as they had left their lights on...(tells you how long ago it was--huh?)

We "jumped" and went to leave--when they warned us that there was bad weather ahead...of course they were from the south and we were from NE, not worried we pressed on...about 50 miles outside of Nashville they were closing the interstate--now normal people would have gotten off the interstate and went back to Nashville for a nice hotel room--but we are from NEBRASKA!

We got off on country roads in the wilds of Tennessee--and looked for a way to "sneak" back on the wasn't even snowing/blowing or nothin! yeah, we got back on and were traveling just fine--until we got about 50 miles from Birmingham--where it had been snowing at the rate of 2"/hour...remembering that in the south they don't have equipment to clear a little snow--let along a "crap-load" of snow!

We ended up spending the night in a VILE MOTEL in Birmingham--not a lovely Marriott in Nashville...and what did we learn??

The state patrol knows what they are doing! Turn your midwest fanny around and get a good hotel room. (not one that usually rents by the hour--yes, they didn't have a nightly rate--they made something up!) OMG!

Yes, I appreciate snow plows and all that equipment so much more now...I think God was just reminding me to be grateful!

Have a lovely day--snowy, or not!


At 9:00 AM, Blogger Maureen Child said...

Susan.I remember that shriek!!

Cady...LOL.....out here in So.CA., we have our Christmas lights wrapped around palm trees!! ah well...just send me a LITTLE weather, people! It's been really cold and windy here the last couple of days and I like it!

Kim, what a great story! the by the hour motel. yeesh. Last fall, my dh and I drove up to Reno. Susan told us not to go at the end of October, but we went anyway... lovely drive. Then we got up the day we were to drive home to find SNOW everywhere. So we took a different route, hoping to sneak around the road closures (sound familiar, Kim?)...but we got stuck and had to turn around. So we ended up buying chains so we could get through the mountain passes--then grabbed a hotel room for the night.

Next morning??? You guessed it. Bright and clear and all roads clean and shiny.....we wasted a whole day just driving in circles... sigh.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Susan Mallery said...

((hugs)) on all the snow in the midwest. It looks like a crazy storm.

Maureen--I remember that trip. I was on-line trying to find a road you could take home.

At 1:12 PM, Blogger Maureen said...

I don't notice if the weather is not exactly as it should be in a book. You have to remember that strange weather does happen. Today is the last day of November and it's well into the 60's here in Pennsylvania. I hate the snow and this year more than ever with a teenage driver in the house.

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Christie Ridgway said...

I never notice as a reader about weather in a book...because I've only lived in California so I have no experience with weather in other parts of the country! I read a book once, though, where the hero was in Southern California and went swimming in February in just his swimsuit. Um...the Pacific is REALLY cold. In Feb. the guy would need a wetsuit or he'd find himself like Leo in Titanic. Cooooold.

You guys are brave driving in snow. Not me. But Kim, I think I stayed in that same hotel once, except it was in Mexico. I was with my mom and we were stuck without a room when our resort overbooked. We finally found this horrid spot (President's Day weekend, so everything was booked up). My mom pitched a fit when she saw the sheets. Yuck.

At 2:03 PM, Blogger Maureen Child said...

Maureen!! Hey, GREAT NAME! Good to see you here!

Susan...oh, thank God for cell phones and for YOU on that trip!

At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Kim said...


For us it was the towels in the bathroom--I didnt' turn down the sheets--I slept in 2 layers of clothes.



At 2:43 PM, Blogger Kate Carlisle said...

Hey, I stayed in that motel, too! I think it was outside of Weed, near Mt. Shasta....very scary sheets and let's forget about the shower. Oh, and they had old stuffed animals on all the beds. Very scary!!!!

Susan, that picture is so beautiful! But I feel your pain about snow. Nice to look at in pictures, but in reality...not so much.

At 6:58 PM, Blogger Christyne Butler said...

LOL the story!! And I love the picture! It's was 69 here in MA today...way, way, way too warm for the last day of November.

As much as I complain about the snow (and believe me, you will hear me complaining over the coming months!) I do love the winter weather...especially when I don't have to go out in it!


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